Oh, how I long for the days 3+ years ago when I didn’t have to keep a calendar. I had so few things going on day to day that I could keep it in my head. Times changed and the calendar became busier so I became a heavy calendar app user. Today, I find myself doing a 4 way sync.
At first, I was just keeping my calendar for myself with iCal, the standard calendar app on the Mac. That worked pretty well, but only I could see it and only when I had my laptop. The upside is that I got more organized and showed up at things.
This really wasn’t a problem until my wife and I needed to coordinate on things better. We needed a way to share calendars. Google Calendar to the rescue. We now have a shared family calendar we can both edit. My personal and work calendar is shared to her read-only. Likewise, she’s shared her personal calendar is shared to me read-only as well.
Solving one problem presented new challenges. In addition to getting my existing calendar data into Google, I also needed it on my iPhone. If I could synchronize Google AND iCal, iCal (and iTunes) would take care of the phone.
The good news is that Google has made it easy for people to make software to synchronize with them, so I began looking for third-party software. On the Mac the application of choice seemed to be Spanning Sync. *Boom*: just by purchasing and scheduling the application to run every 30 minutes, it didn’t matter where I entered the data, it ended up in both Google and the Mac. Because information on the Mac was still in iCal, it then synchronized to my phone.
Two quick notes at this point: 1) If you use Outlook, Google has provided Google Calendar Sync that will accomplish the same thing on the Windows side and 2) Google has since added CalDAV support, so apps like iCal that speak CalDAV can interact with Google directly.
For many moons, I went along happily with this setup until my job changed. In my new life I needed to keep my calendar on the current corporate standard: Lotus Notes. Unfortunately, there are no tools to sync Lotus Notes with Google Calendar on the Mac. Luckily, thanks to my continued work on ezRETS and libRETS, I’ve got a Windows box in my office for development work. My Windows box uses CompanionLink for Google to put Google Calendar information into my Lotus Notes calendar and vice versa. CompanionLink is a bit wonky and I haven’t fully shaken out why, but its getting the job done, I just need to remember to give it a bit more care and feeding.
Thanks to how friendly everyone is with Google Calendar its become the center of my little calendar world, but it all works. I can now create an event and be assured that it will show up in all of my calendards. The event may take 4 hops to get everywhere, but al least it gets everywhere.